Preakness Day, 2011

May 25th 2011 07:30 am |

The Preakness history hat

For a racing fan, there is nothing like a big race day.  Even with the hand-wringing over this year’s “weak” 3-year-old crop, those in the house at Pimlico for Preakness 2011 had a memorable day, including this writer who had the opportunity to participate in Maryland’s biggest day of racing.

It was my first trip back to the Preakness since 2006, and this year I made it a point to take it all in. This included a few trips to the infield, watching races from the winner’s circle and the grandstand, hanging around the stakes barn as the Preakness runners made their way to the track, and having one of the best seats in the house to watch the Preakness.

I didn’t cash a single ticket all day, even though I nailed the trifecta in The Dixie at Hello Race Fans, but on a day like Saturday, losing money at the wagering windows is a small price to pay for the experience of witnessing a Triple Crown race live.

Say what you want about this year’s marketing for Preakness, the people at the Maryland Jockey Club put on a good show for racing and non-racing fans alike. While the music and marketing for the infield scene were of little interest to me, it’s easy to see the appeal for a certain segment of the population who are more familiar with the party scene than trifectas, racing forms, the Triple Crown.

Sixty bucks for music, a social scene, and a refillable mug of beer is a pretty good deal. It seems the large majority of the infield crowd cared little about watching or betting on racing. The infield isn’t designed for hardcore racing fans (I only saw a few monitors for watching the races) but that’s not who it’s for. If getting as many yahoos to party in the infield on Preakness day helps fund Maryland racing (which it does) then how can race fans complain about how they go about marketing it?  I am definitely not the target market for Kegasus but (sadly) I get it, and with the increased attendance this year, something apparently clicked with that audience.

Kudos to the Maryland Jockey Club for pulling off what turned out to be a wildly successful Preakness Day.

Here are a handful of the many images I took at Pimlico on Saturday:

Pimlico from the roof

Trainer Roger Attfield’s No Explaining, winner of the Gallorette, with John Valazquez aboard

Schaefer Memorial winner Apart with jockey Garrett Gomez

The Pimlico Grandstand from the Infield prior to the running of The Dixie Stakes

Paddy O’Prado and Kent Desormeaux after winning The Dixie Stakes

After the race it was reported that Paddy O’Prado was showing lameness soon after his win. It turns out he suffered a career ending injury and it was announced on Monday that will be retired to stud. Teresa at Brooklyn Backstretch put together an excellent tribute for one of my favorite horses in training.

Shackleford exits the stakes barn on on his way to the track for the Preakness Stakes

Saddling the Preakness starters on the Pimlico turf course

Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom steps on the track for the Preakness

Shackleford after saddling on the turf course steps on the track before his impressive win in the Preakness

I took some pictures of the infield but I think this one says it all: http://twitter.com/#!/ColinsGhost/status/72325769904390146

It was a great day at Pimlico. Back next week with more history…

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Filed in horse racing,horse racing history,Pimlico Race Track,Preakness,thoroughbred racing history



3 Responses to “Preakness Day, 2011”

  1. John S. says:

    Glad you had a great time at Pimlico. Preakness is wonderful. Quick corrections on your piece: No Advantage did not win the Gallorette; No Explaining did. Also I don’t think it’s quite right to characterize the people in the infield as “yahoos.” I was out there and just saw a lot of great looking people having a great time. I love and loved the infield and I certainly wouldn’t want to be considered a yahoo. It is fun in there, especially on a beautiful spring day.

    best,
    John Scheinman

  2. Kevin says:

    Hi John:

    Thanks for your comment and correction.

    Bad form by me to characterize all those in the infield as “yahoos.” However, I think its fair to say there is a fair share of “yahoo-ism” in the Pimlico outfield on Preakness Day. I stand by my assertion that it’s not the place to be if you are interested in watching the races. Maybe you could convince me otherwise over a beer at next year’s Preakness…I’m buying!

    Thanks again,
    Kevin

  3. helene conway says:

    love your coverage of the day and races – many thanks – wouldn’t get those photos elsewhere

    especially love the photo of paddy – i have loved him since the first time i saw him at gulfstream

    and especially especially love the photos of shack – i have loved him (and bet on him) since the first time i saw him at gulfstream